Bob Iger is an American media executive, film producer, author and businessman who is Executive Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020. Before working for Disney, Iger served as the President of ABC Television from 1994 to 1995, and as President/COO of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. from 1995 until Disney’s acquisition of the company in 1996.
He was named President and COO of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as CEO in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake up the management of the company. As part of his yearly compensation, Iger earned $44.9 million in 2015. During Iger’s tenure, Disney broadened the company’s roster of intellectual properties and its presence in international markets; Iger oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion, Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion, and 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion, as well as the expansion of the company’s theme park resorts in East Asia, with the introduction of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in 2005 and 2016, respectively.
Iger was born to a Jewish family in New York City. He is the oldest son of Mimi (née Tunick) and Arthur L. Iger (b. 1926). His father was a World War II Navy veteran who served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Greenvale Marketing Corporation, and was also a professor of advertising and public relations; he also played the trumpet and had manic-depressive disorder. His mother worked at Boardman Junior High School in Oceanside, New York. Arthur’s father Joe (i.e. Bob’s paternal grandfather) was cartoonist Jerry Iger’s brother.
He was raised in Oceanside, where he attended the Fulton Avenue School and graduated from Oceanside High School in 1969. Likewise, Iger developed a love of books from a young age. Since 1973, he graduated magna cum laude from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Television and Radio.
Iger began his media career in 1972 as the host of Campus Probe, an Ithaca College television show. He dreamed of becoming a news anchor while he worked as a weatherman in Ithaca for five months, before shifting his career goals.
Career in American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
In 1974, Iger joined the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). His first job was performing menial labor on television sets for $150 a week (over $700, adjusted for inflation).
In 1989, he was named head of ABC Entertainment. Further, he served as president of the ABC Network Television Group from January 1993 to 1994, and was appointed as Capital Cities/ABC senior vice president in March 1993 and executive vice president in July 1993. In 1994, Iger was named president and chief operating officer of ABC’s corporate parent, Capital Cities/ABC.
Iger has tied a knot twice. His first marriage to Kathleen Susan Iger ended in divorce. They have two daughters. In 1995, Iger tied a knot to journalist Willow Bay in an interfaith Jewish and Roman Catholic service in Bridgehampton, New York. They have two children: Robert Maxwell “Max” Iger (born 1998) and William Iger (born 2002).
David Geffen said “I have never heard one person say a bad thing about him and I have never seen him be mean”. Iger co-chaired a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on August 22, 2016. Likewise, he resigned from Trump’s Advisory Council on June 1, 2017 after Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
In 2016, Iger switched his party registration from Democratic to independent (no party affiliation). Further, Iger avoids all carbs, except pizza, which he seeks out everywhere in the world.
In 2019, Bloomberg reported that a whistleblower to the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed that in just one division of the company, Disney was inflating income by up to $6 billion. Moreover, Disney claimed the whistleblower was fired for cause for making persistently false claims. The Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on the matter.
In 2018, Senator Bernie Sanders attacked Iger’s rich pay package, which Institutional Shareholder Services estimates could earn the executive as much as $423 million over the next four years if he hits all of his performance goals. At another campaign event, Senator Sanders cited Disney as Exhibit A in what he calls a “rigged economy.”
- Full Name: Robert Allen Iger
- Date of Birth: February 10, 1951
- Age: 69
- Birth Place: New York City, U.S.
- Education: Ithaca College (BS)
- Years active: 1974–present
- Employer: The Walt Disney Company
- Home town: Oceanside, New York, U.S.
- Title: Executive Chairman
- Predecessor: Michael Eisner
- Successor: Bob Chapek
- Political party: Democratic (before 2016), Independent (since 2016–present)
- Books: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, The Ride of a Lifetime
- Spouse: Willow Bay (m. 1995), Susan Iger (m since ?–1994)
- Upcoming movie: Indiana Jones 5
- Children: Kate Iger, Robert Maxwell Iger, William Iger, Amanda Iger
- Net Worth: $120 million
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